One Nation is racist: the evidence Hanson can't deny

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One Nation is racist: the evidence Hanson can't deny

By Sue Boland

Whenever journalists question Pauline Hanson, David Oldfield or David Ettridge about the racist views of the One Nation party, they respond by saying, "I'm not a racist. Name one racist thing I've said." Journalists usually leave the statement unchallenged.

The politics of Hanson are based on racism, and have never been anything else. This was made public as far back as January 1996, when Hanson, then an endorsed Liberal candidate, wrote to the local Ipswich paper, the Queensland Times: "How can we expect this race [Aborigines] to help themselves when governments shower them with money, facilities and opportunities, that only these people can obtain, no matter how minute the indigenous blood is that runs through their veins, and that is what is causing racism".

On being elected to parliament, Hanson was quoted in the Australian as saying that she would fight for the interests of her electors — but not for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

The Sydney Morning Herald (June 13, 1998) asked Hanson what her top three policies would be if she won balance of power in the Senate. Hanson replied "First, abolish ATSIC", second, "zero net levels of immigration" and third, "reindustrialising industry and manufacturing".

So, her top two policies are simply about kicking Aborigines and migrants.

Below is a tiny selection of statements by Hanson that demonstrate the racist politics of One Nation. Most have been downloaded from the One Nation web site.

Aboriginal 'advantages'

Hanson disputes that Aborigines suffer from racism, and claims that they are privileged: "Present governments are providing separatism in Australia by providing opportunities, land, moneys and facilities available only to Aboriginals ... I am fed up ... with the inequalities that are being promoted by the government and paid for by the taxpayer under the assumption that Aboriginals are the most disadvantaged people in Australia." (Parliament, September 10, 1996)

While there are large numbers of non-indigenous Australians suffering from increased impoverishment, Aborigines are clearly the most disadvantaged section of Australian society.

Some statistics to demonstrate this include:

  • unemployment: 38% for indigenous men and 9% for non-indigenous

  • income less than $12,000: 64% of indigenous people and 45% for non-indigenous people

  • income over $35,000: 2% for indigenous people and 11% for non-indigenous people

  • infant mortality: two to three times that of other Australians

  • life expectancy: 18 to 20 years lower than other Australians

Hanson opposes measures for Aboriginal welfare, calling them "reverse racism ... applied to mainstream Australians". (Parliament, September 10, 1996)

"Identifying as an Aboriginal has definite financial advantages, as Aboriginality allows them to claim a share of the booty of the native title scam as well as various other publicly funded perks not available to other Australians." (Parliament, June 2, 1998)

In reality, there are only two areas where Aborigines are entitled to "special" benefits. Young Aborigines are eligible for a slightly higher Abstudy allowance when studying. ATSIC runs a home loan scheme allowing disadvantaged Aborigines to get loans fixed at 3% and 5% for the first year, increasing to a maximum of 8% — similar to schemes run in a number of states for defence force personnel and for people on low incomes.

Other services such as the Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal medical services are similar to specialist services for women, veterans, old people and disabled people.

ATSIC

Hanson blames ATSIC for Aboriginal poverty: "... the corrupt and inefficient activities of ATSIC do not allow much opportunity for improving their lifestyle." (Parliament, June 2, 1998)

"I am here today to reaffirm my resolve to abolish ATSIC ..." (Press conference, Feb 13, 1998)

ATSIC has existed only since 1988. Aboriginal poverty has existed for much longer than that.

Between 1894 and 1973, Aboriginal people had their wages confiscated under the Aboriginal Welfare Fund. During the 1980s, Aboriginal activists and trade unions were still trying to win award wages for many Aboriginal workers in north Queensland. Such racist policies, and the loss of their land, are the origin of Aboriginal poverty.

ATSIC is subject to the same scrutiny as any other public sector agency. The annual federal indigenous affairs budget of $1.6 billion must pay for basic services not provided by the states, such as roads, housing and sewerage.

When the federal government made similar accusations against ATSIC in 1996, an investigation came up with no evidence of significant corruption.

Hanson's hostility to Aborigines extends even to the stolen children: "For many years Australians have been assaulted by a shameless PR campaign aimed at developing guilt among non-Aboriginals ... This Aboriginal land grab was the object of a campaign of guilt typified by the stolen children's report ..." (One Nation press release, 1997)

The systematic policy of removing Aboriginal children from their parents was an attempt to extinguish the Aboriginal race. Members of the stolen generation are over-represented amongst Aboriginal inmates, and over-represented amongst black deaths in custody cases. Hanson still refuses to say that the removal of Aboriginal children was wrong.

Land

Hanson also has a racist view of Aboriginal history: "It does not matter whether it is 10,000 years or 180,000 years ... There is considerable evidence that even Australia experienced a number of waves of occupation by different people. So you might reasonably ask who were the first ... Does being first matter ...?

"There is no true way of connecting Aboriginal hunter gatherer nomadic occupation with the modern understanding of land ownership ... this endless PR campaign ... is a carefully coordinated assault on the conscience of other Australians for the express purpose of producing guilt so as to extract monetary compensation." (Parliament, June 2, 1998)

When it comes to immigration, Hanson is very concerned about who was in Australia first, but when it comes to Aboriginal land rights, she considers this unimportant.

Hanson reflects the ideology of 18th and 19th century British colonialism. Because most colonised countries had non-white populations, racist ideology was used to justify conquest.

Hanson repeats and embroiders fears about native title: "Already 15% of Australia is in Aboriginal hands ... Aborigines continue to be given more than other Australians — native title is simply another scam ...

"Australians must understand that up to 79% of Australia is under the threat of native title by less than 2% of the population." (Parliament, June 2, 1998)

"... extinguishment [of native title] should be extended to cover vacant crown land as well". (Parliament, 1998)

Native title grants Aboriginal people very few rights: access to a pastoral lease, but not ownership or control.

Extinguishment is a directly racist policy: it specifically bans Aborigines from inheriting property rights from their ancestors, while other Australians are able to inherit far more extensive property rights from their ancestors.

Discrimination

Not surprisingly, Hanson opposes the Racial Discrimination Act: "The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 is supposed to guarantee that no-one will be disadvantaged on the basis of race. Unfortunately, the loophole ... is the provision to discriminate positively. Having this loophole and using it to discriminate positively for one group results in negative discrimination against others." (Parliament, June 2, 1996)

Special measures to alleviate racial discrimination do not discriminate against white Australians. Special assistance is simply an attempt to create a more equal situation for people facing systematic and institutionalised oppression.

Hanson exposed her racism in a particularly blatant way in a speech in Adelaide on July 14, suggesting that Aborigines shouldn't have the right to vote: "They didn't have the right to vote until the Australian people in a referendum in 1967, when they cast that vote, believed that Aborigines should have the right to vote and should be treated equally the same as everyone else. But if Australians knew today what had been foreshadowed for them they would have thought twice about casting that vote." (Quoted in the Australian, July 16)

Hanson was wrong about the content of the referendum, but her attitude to Aborigines (including the view that they aren't part of the Australian people) is unmistakable.

Hanson also makes use of others' racist paranoia. In 1997, a crudely racist book, The Truth, was released as a fundraiser for One Nation. The book sought to whip up paranoia against Aborigines by accusing them of having been cannibals. Hanson was eventually forced to distance herself from the book. However, she maintains that history textbooks should teach that Australia was colonised peacefully and not invaded.

Race-based immigration

On immigration, One Nation's immigration policy says, "Our migrant intake will be non-discriminatory on condition that the numbers do not significantly alter the ethnic and cultural make-up of the country". If this means anything, it means that One Nation won't discriminate against Asians if they don't apply to immigrate, but will if they do.

And then there's the "yellow peril": "My fear is that if we keep going the way that we're going ... the yellow race will rule the world, because they have a different culture. A different way of life." (Bulletin, October 22, 1996)

"I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians ... They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate." (Parliament, September 10, 1996)

Hanson exaggerates the Asian immigration figures to create paranoia. For example, One Nation's immigration policy claims that 70% of migrants come from Asian countries; the real figure is 37%.

Multiculturalism

One Nation's anti-Asian racism often takes the form of boasting of the "superiority" of Australian culture: "... the desire Australians have to maintain their culture, history and traditions must take precedence. The Australian national culture ... has incorporated the best features of British culture; a balance of freedom and order ... conflict solving by debate and not by force". (One Nation immigration policy)

This would be laughable, if Hanson didn't believe it. There is no common white Australian culture. Any democratic freedoms that workers in Australia have today were won in bitter battles against other white Australians — that is, bosses and governments.

Hanson opposes multiculturalism as a threat to her peculiar idea of Australian culture: "Abolishing the policy of multiculturalism will save billions of dollars and allow those from ethnic backgrounds to join mainstream Australia ... Immigration must be halted in the short term so that our dole queues are not added to by ... migrants not fluent in the English language." (Parliament, September 10, 1996)

"... successive governments and the media, together with the publicly funded multicultural and immigration elites, have imposed a wholly different cultural vision for Australia — multiculturalism ..." (One Nation immigration policy)

On refugees, "One Nation believes in providing temporary refuge until the danger in the refugee's country is resolved. There is no assumption of automatic residence in Australia." (Immigration policy)

"Australia should reject applications from ethnic-Chinese refugees who had been caught up in Indonesia's recent political crisis. We cannot bring people who are going to be a burden on our welfare system." (Hanson, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 1998)

Given that most refugees come from Third World and non-white countries, the ban on refugees gaining permanent residence is clearly designed to exclude non-whites.

Queensland campaign

That all of One Nation's policies are based on racism was revealed during the Queensland elections.

One Nation policies listed a number of spending initiatives, to be paid for by eliminating all expenditure on Aborigines and migrants.

Ten of One Nation's 27 proposed savings from the state budget — $76 million out of a total of $210 million — involved cuts to Aboriginal and/or migrant programs. Indigenous housing, education and infrastructure programs would be abolished.

Many of Hanson's supporters also make it clear that racism is what attracts them, One Nation booth workers in the Queensland elections subjecting Asian Australians to racist insults.

Figures from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission reflected a dramatic increase in racist insults and violent attacks on Asians and Aborigines following Hanson's maiden speech in 1996. Racists have clearly seen Hanson's statements as a green light for explicit, and even violent, racism.

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